After making those Ginger Chocolate Chip Bars a few posts ago I got to thinking about recipes. I'm very good at following recipes but creating one down to the measuring spoonful of spices? I can't seem to wrap my head around how you do that. Who are these people behind the delicious recipes we see each month in our favorite magazines? I got a quick interview with Real Simple's Sara Quessenberry (the woman behind those delicious bars) to get some inside scoop:
BT: What was your path to becoming Real Simple's Food Stylist? Did you always want a career in food? What does your job entail?
SQ: Cooking has always been important in my family. My mom and grandma are both excellent cooks, and I always loved just being near them in the kitchen. So I think it's in my blood. I owned a restaurant for several years before selling it due to utter exhaustion. The magazine world was just a lucky step in the right direction and landing at Real Simple even luckier. My job entails working with the food department to come up with monthly recipes, developing and writing the recipes, and, then, often, styling them for the photographs that you see on the page.
BT: We all have our favorite recipes and cookbooks, but actually creating recipes seems like a challenge. What is your process to develop recipes? What inspires the recipes you create? SQ: A good question. Very often a single ingredient will inspire an entire dish. It may be freshly dug new potatoes from the farmers' market that catch my eye or just a good old-fashioned hankering for something spicy and exotic, and then I go from there. BT: What is your favorite thing to cook? To bake? Favorite childhood recipe? SQ: A tough question. If I had all of the time in the world, I would make my own pasta. I love the process and the rhythm of it all. As far as baking, I am drawn to fruit desserts: crisps and rustic, free-form pies. Oooh, favorite childhood food memory: fried bread dough rolled in sugar BT: Name a few NYC restaurants you love and tell us why. SQ: Maialino, Lupa, Dell’anima, Sullivan Street Bakery. They all share a common theme: straight forward, uncomplicated really good food with attention to seasonality and casual atmospheres.
Thanks Sara! You can find her delicious recipes and mouth-watering food styling each month in the pages of Real Simple.